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African Commission Extends Mandate of Special Rapporteur on Free Expression, 14 Other Special Mechanism by 6 Months | Media Rights Agenda

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African Commission Extends Mandate of Special Rapporteur on Free Expression, 14 Other Special Mechanism by 6 Months

Lawrence Mute, Commissioner, ACHPR
Lawrence Mute, Commissioner, ACHPR

The African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR) has renewed the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa, Commissioner Lawrence Mute, and the mandates of 14 other Special Mechanism of the Commission for another six months, following the expiration of their two-year tenure.

Meeting at its 65th Ordinary Session, which began in Banjul, The Gambia, on October 21, 2019 and ended on November 10, 2019, the Commission adopted Resolution 425, “Resolution on the Renewal of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights’ Special Mechanisms’ Mandates – ACHPR/Res.425(LXV) 2019 by which it extended the mandates of the 15 special mechanisms for a 6-month period

In the resolution, the Commission recalled its earlier resolutions on the renewal of the Mandate of the various Special Mechanisms of the Commission adopted at its 61st Ordinary Session held from November 1 to 15, 2017, including the Special Rapporteur on Prisons, Conditions of Detention and Policing in Africa; the Special Rapporteur on Refugees, Asylum Seekers, Internally Displaced Persons and Migrants in Africa; the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa; the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders and Focal Point on Reprisals in Africa; and the Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities in Africa.

Other special mechanisms, which also benefited from the extension are the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of People Living with HIV (PLHIV) and those at Risk, Vulnerable to and Affected by HIV; the Working Group on Death Penalty, Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Killings in Africa; the Working Group on Communications; the Working Group on Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights Violations in Africa; the Committee for the Prevention of Torture in Africa; the Advisory Committee on Budgetary and Staff Matters; the Working Group on Specific Issues related to the Work of the Commission; the Committee on Resolutions; the Working Group on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Africa; and the Working Group on the Rights of Older Persons and Persons with Disabilities in Africa

The Commission noted that the mandates of these Special Mechanisms were for two years and that they have come to an end and that the election of new members of the Commission did not take place at the African Union Summit held from July 4 to 8, 2019 and had been postponed to the Summit to be held from February 6 to 10, 2020.

Reiterating the importance of the Special Mechanisms and the need for them to continue to carry out their mandates, the Commission decided to renew the mandate of the Commissioners and the Expert Members of the Commission’s various Special Mechanisms for a six months’ period, with effect from November 10, 2019.

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